Once upon a time in a very small town there was a little girl. She was very small and had golden hair her mother kept in braids with ribbons. She was the sweetest child around and all the neighbors loved her dearly. Molly was the mascot of the college in the town and the envy of all the other little girls her age.
Molly stayed with her grandmother while her parents worked. Miss Annie, her grandmother kept three of her grandchildren, Molly, Carole, and Phyllis. Phyllis was the oldest and made the days of the other two quite miserable. She would tear up all the toys and destroy the playhouse of pretend every day. Carole and Molly didn’t like Phyllis. Each time their make-believe houses were destroyed they would run to tell Miss Annie.
Carole and Phyllis had gone home with their mother and only Molly remained on this particular day. It was Friday and sometimes on Friday Molly would spend the night. It happened this was one of those nights.
Miss Annie lived in a big white house with her sister Vashti. They had divided the house so each had their own private bedrooms and sitting rooms. Now back in the day it was a common thing for older women to use snuff. They would take a small pinch and put it between their bottom lip and the teeth. Miss Annie dipped Railroad Mills snuff and Miss Vashti dipped Peach brand snuff. Snuff as they called it was tobacco that had been ground into a fine powder. It packs a powerful punch. The men chewed tobacco by just pulling off a plug from the pack and packing it in their jaw. It was also common to see them spit wherever they happened to be.
Molly thought it was really cool to watch them screw off the metal top of the round can and put a pinch between their fingers. She watch carefully as they deposited it between the bottom teeth and the bottom lip. They kept a round brown bowl of sorts to spit in occasionally.
It happened that this day Molly decided to sneak into Miss Vashti’s room and deposit a big pinch of snuff in between her lip and teeth. She had decided she must get a larger pinch since her fingers were so small. She securely tightened the lid and went about her way as her grandmother did.
The one thing Molly forgot was that Miss Annie and Miss Vashti never swallowed the snuff but would occasionally spit some juice in a jar or can they had in their apron pocket. Now this was a dreadful thing to forget. It wasn’t long before Molly’s stomach began to hurt terribly and she felt as if she would die at any moment. She couldn’t tell anyone for they would find out she had stolen the snuff.
“Oh me I know I am going to die. I’ll just crawl under Miss Vashti’s big feather bed and die there. They won’t find me for a long time!” She whispered softly. “Oh God please make this sickness go away. I promise I will never steal snuff again. Please God help me to get better before granny finds out what I have done.” She continued.
Time passed and Miss Annie began to look for Molly. She called and called. There was no sign of Molly anywhere. Miss Annie checked at the fig tree because she knew Molly loved to eat figs. She check in the barn but there was no Molly to be found anywhere. Miss Annie was about to become frantic when she heard a slight moan.
Following the sound, she stooped to see Molly all curled into a ball underneath the bed.
“Child what are you doing up under Miss Vashti’s bed. You know you are not suppose to come into her room unless she is in here. Now come on out from under there.” Miss Annie shouted. She was relieved to have found Molly but she was a little upset with her for not answering her calls.
“Oh Granny! I am going to die. Please don’t spank me because I am surely going to die any minute now.” She whimpered sadly as the tears ran down her face.
“What in the world is the matter child? You are not going to die. Tell me what has happened.” Miss Annie asked. She was quite concerned that Molly was so sick.
“Well I have to be honest. I sneaked in here and got a pinch of Miss Vashti’s snuff. I did it just like you both do but it is making me so sick I wish I could die.” Molly cried.
“Oh I see. Now it is good to tell the truth for in telling the truth I know just how to fix things. Let’s go wash your mouth out really good and get you some good ole pink stuff for your tummy. I think the problem might be that you forgot and you swallowed the snuff. You are not supposed to swallow it. I did the same thing when I was a child so I know how you feel.” Miss Annie smiled.
After the wash out and the pink medicine Molly slowly began to feel better.
“From now on if you want to dip like we do we will make you a special dip. We will mix sugar and coco. Then you can dip too. Even if you forget and swallow you will not get sick like this.” Miss Annie said with a sigh.
So from that day on Molly never dipped snuff but she did coach Phyllis to do it. She sat back and laughed as Phyllis grew green. It wasn’t a nice thing to do but she got Phyllis back for all the bad things she had done to her. Payback is sometimes quite painful.
What is snuff?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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